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Pharmacy keeps its place in the precinct

For more than 40 years, Bob Slater has been at the heart of the local community and a consistent, caring presence in the mall.

Since arriving in Ipswich in 1979 and opening the doors of his first pharmacy on Bell St, a lot has changed over the years, but Bob’s loyalty to the mall has never swayed. And now, his son Todd has taken up the mantle.

“Dad’s motto is to always be loyal to those that are loyal to you. The mall, and the community here, have been very loyal to us and we in turn will always be loyal to them,” Todd Slater said.

The Slaters’ residency in the mall has spanned four decades and four shopfront locations, and operated under as many brands, but one thing has remained constant throughout: a commitment to the community they serve.

“There is a strong sense of community in the city heart, we love it. We wanted to be a part of the revitalisation of the CBD so leaving was never an option for us,” he said.

Father and son have seen a lot of change over the years, most notably the recent Nicholas Street Precinct and emerging city heart. The Slaters have pivoted their business to adapt as needed, and they’re now seeing a whole new generation of customers exploring the mall.

While the Slaters are a modern-day institution, they’re not the first family pharmacy to be synonymous with Nicholas St.

Gerald Nolan opened Nolan’s Pharmacy on the corner of Brisbane and Nicholas streets in 1924. A part of the CBD for decades, it was known throughout Ipswich as “Nolan’s Corner” for most of the 20th century.

Remnants of the Nolan Pharmacy era remain a century later, with “Nolans 1925” still visible on the building’s facade.

In 1925, Nolan’s Pharmacy sold perfumes, patent medicines, prescription drugs, bathing caps, motorist goggles, and even Golden Casket tickets. They also performed same-day photographic
development, and later would be the local agent for Trans Australia Airlines.

A century later, Terry White Chemmart offers a strong dispensary, a full makeup counter, extensive range of vitamins, a flu clinic and more.

“Our range has shifted to suit the new wave of customers coming to the precinct, with essentials available for young and old,” Todd said.

“With the different events and activities happening in Tulmur Place all the time, we make sure we have something to suit when visitors drop in while they’re visiting the precinct. With Christmas coming up, I am looking forward to seeing where our elf on the shelf will pop up each day throughout the festive season.”

You’ll find Terry White Chemmart on the corner of Union Place and Nicholas St, open six days a week.

Three Questions for Todd

Why has your pharmacy stayed in the precinct?

Loyalty. Dad moved to Ipswich in 1979, opening a pharmacy in the mall. We’ve been here ever since.

When I joined in 2011, there was so much going on with things ever changing while the mall was being redeveloped. We were approached a couple of times to relocate, but Dad shut that down very quickly.

He is loyal to the mall and it is the community here that has kept us in the area.

What does having a new precinct mean for Terry White Chemmart?

It has absolutely been beneficial. When I first came here, I vividly remember the hoarding that was 3 metres from our door. It was tough at times, but we planned our business around it. While there weren’t many people walking in off the street, we made sure we went out to meet customers, like nursing homes. Now we see families and prams entering our doors more and more, people are enjoying the precinct and it’s great.

What’s the future looking like?

The future is positive for us here in the precinct. With new tenants arriving in the new year, we’re expecting that people will get out of the towers during their lunchbreak more and more and nights and weekends will pick up too. I’ve just seen the flyover for the new Commonwealth Hotel, which looks fabulous. We’re really excited for what’s to come with the Venue too.

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